The middle of July also marked the start of a new season in Romanian soccer,which traditionally begins with the Romanian Supercup,a match between title holders,Otelul Galati,and Cup winners,Steaua Bucharest.It was a tight match which allowed the team from Galati to prove once again that it deserves to be Romanian champion.They won the match(1-0) thanks to a goal scored by Laurentiu Bus,and thus won their first Supercup and second trophy in their history. The success Otelul has achieved lately took many people by surprise because they didnít consider the teamvaluable enough to keep up the pace with the big teams of the Romanian League.Until last season their best performance in the league was the 4th place and their best achievement was the Romanian Cup final played in 2004,when they were defeated by Dinamo Bucharest(1-0).Unlike the important clubs from Bucharest and those who recently became forces in Romanian soccer(CFR 1907 Cluj,FC Vaslui),Otelul had a low budget and an important part of its funds came from raising and selling young players.It was a policy that allowed them to survive in the first division and even allowed them to have a few appearances in European Cups,but no one expected them to be able to do more than fight for an Europa League spot. Anyway,the unexpected triumph of the previous season,which allowed them to become the first ever team from the province of Moldavia to win a trophy,is largely due to one man,whose is Dorinel Munteanu.The man who is best known for his record of 134 caps for
the national team also proved that he was a great coach,turning a rather mediocre team into a well solid ensemble,capable of beating teams with more valuable players at an individual value.It was an amazing transformation because he didnít bring any stars to the team,he used the same players plus a few youngsters and gave them confidence that they could become champions,and two months ago,after the 2-1 win against FC Timisoara,the miracle happened:Otelul was champion,and the people of Galati could celebrate that historical moment. Success never comes easy,but itís even more difficult to maintain your position at the top,and Dorinel and the club management of the difficult are aware challenges they will face,not only in the Romanian League,where there are several teams capable of fighting for the title,but also in the Champions League.Otelul had a few European adventures,and its mot prestigious result was a 1-0 win against Juventus Turin in the UEFA Cup in 1988,followed by a 5-0 defeat in the second leg.Anyway,Otelul will find out the name of their opponents in the group stage in August,but one thing is certain:they will face some of Europeís finest clubs.Many people in Romania donít consider them able to win at least a few points in the Champions League,but I consider this team is underrated and it will cause more problems to their strong European opponents than they expect;Iím convinced they will make me feel proud of being from Romania and especially from Moldavia.Hai Otelul!